Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top Ten Lessons of Retreat Facilitating

10. Stack the retreat with friendly, easy-going retreatants.

9. Get an awesome retreat location.... and pray hard for incredible weather.

8. Make sure your details person is really good at the details... those little extras make all the difference between a "nice" retreat and a truly memorable one.

7. Ply the Hermitage director with wine and homemade blueberry cobbler... so that he is more than willing to help out and open his personal space to meet our needs.

6. Know yourself. I planned the type of retreat that I would like to attend, which resulted in me having a reasonable amount of downtime throughout the weekend. I was able to re-charge, pray, and even have Spiritual Direction, all while running a retreat.

5. Whenever possible, get your Spiritual Director on board. It made such a huge difference for me to have Father there... for general support, for the check-in meeting, for Reconciliation, for Direction. Particularly since this was a discernment retreat for me, his presence was truly valuable.

4. Lots of prayerful preparation. We began with a rough outline in April. Slowly, the plan for the weekend took shape. Meetings and lists followed meetings and lists. Setting up on Thursday and arriving early on Friday afternoon meant that I was relaxed and ready to greet retreatants when they arrived.

3. S'mores by campfire under the stars on Saturday night. Need I say more?

2. Be willing to accept less than perfection. Laugh at and shrug off the mistakes that happen. Even if things don't go exactly as planned, someone will take something away from it.

1. Just before the retreat begins, pause for prayer. Invite the Holy Spirit into the retreat. Ask God to make you His instrument for the weekend. Then step aside and let God.


And when the retreat is over, and you've read the evaluations, spend at least a few weeks in prayerful reflection before you begin planning the next one.

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